The most commonly diagnosed of all cancers in the United States is skin cancer. It affects more people than breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer combined. Skin cancer called melanoma causes the most skin cancer deaths. In Maine melanoma was 13th highest in the country in 2009, according to the National Cancer Institute and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Melanoma kills an average of 47 people in Maine every year. Death rates are highest in Cumberland, Androscoggin and Kennebec counties.
People who use a tanning bed once a month before the age of 35 increase their melanoma risk by 75 percent. The beds give off three to six times the amount of radiation than the sun.
This summer protect your skin by:
• Use sunblock, SPF of at least 15, and avoid sun tanning.
• Reapply SPF every two hours and after swimming or sweating.
• Wear protective clothing, hats and sunglasses with 99-100 percent UVA/UVB protection.
• Seek shade when the sun’s UV rays are intense, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
• Pay attention to the UV Index